Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One for Now and One for Later


My first foray into the whole freezer cooking thing. I felt like making enchiladas so I made two pans and am putting one in the freezer. Since this was a spur of the moment cooking adventure it wasn't as cost effective as if I'd planned my shopping to take advantage of the best deals but I had a lot of the ingredients on hand already.

Unfortunately, when I was trying to make a flat spot in my freezer to put my enchilada pan, I realized that I have a lot of random food items in my freezer that I should really use up. So the rest of my freezer cooking adventure is going to have to go on hold while I spend a couple weeks trying to use up the contents of my chest freezer.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Aprons, Aprons Everywhere


(An apron for my future SIL and a cute little matching pinafore apron for her daughter. )

So far this year I've made Christmas aprons for Grandma, Aunt L, Wonderful Crazy Aunt G, Honey's Aunt C, Cousin A's Texas themed Apron, Honey's BBQing Apron, a Gingerbread themed apron for my sister, and a gingerbread man apron for my nephew. And last night I finished my last aprons of the year. A set of mother and daughter aprons for my maybe future sister in law and her daughter. Future SIL has been trying to learn how to cook so I thought this would be a great present to encourage her and give her something pretty and homemade.


(a matched set of aprons I made for my sister and nephew. Hers is a basic apron with gingerbread print fabric and his is a little gingerbread man.)
Of course now that I've made all these aprons and the year is almost finished I realized the one person I didn't make an apron for this year is me. Oops. Guess that can be my first new years resolution.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I like cooking, sometimes, and the rest of the time I hate my kitchen with a passion. My husband laughs because one day he will come home to pot roast, veggies, homemade rolls, and cookies or brownies. However, the rest of the week we're eating hamburger helper or those skillet insta' dinners. Instead of continuing this feast or famine style of cooking, I'm going to try freezer cooking/once-a-month cooking. Hopefully, I can have a big cooking day when I feel like cooking, freeze a bunch of meals, and then just drop them in the oven on the nights I don't feel like cooking.

Unfortunately, I've had mixed experiences with recipes I get from the Internet so if I'm cooking really big (read expensive) batches of dinners I want to be sure the recipes are worth cooking. I got one book at the used book store - Linda Larsen's "Meals for a Month" and I have the "Super Suppers" Cookbook on hold at the Library. The book I have so far has some really good looking recipes in it. I'm having a hard time picking just 10 recipes to try first. They all look so yummy. I've seen the website for Super Suppers and they have some tasty looking dinners too but I'm too cheap to buy their dinners so I'll just try cooking their recipes at home :)

If anyone has any freezer recipes they've tried, liked and are willing to share, I'd appreciate it. Otherwise wish me luck with my new experiment and I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A poem I found on Craigslist

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
With no thought of the dog outside filling their head.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Knew he was cold, but didn’t care about that.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Figuring the dog was free and into the trash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of midday to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Santa Claus – his eyes full of tears.
He unchained the dog, once so lively and quick,
Last years Christmas present, now thin and sick.
More rapid than eagles he called the dog’s name.
And the dog ran to him, despite all his pain;
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Let’s find this dog a home where he’ll be loved by all”
I knew in an instant there would be no gifts this year,
For Santa Claus had made one thing quite clear,
The gift of a dog is not just for the season,
We had gotten the pup for all the wrong reasons.
In our haste to think of giving the kids a gift
There was one important thing that we missed.
A dog should be family, and cared for the same
You don’t give a gift, then put it on a chain.
And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight,
“You weren’t given a gift! You were given a life!”

—Author Unknown

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!!

Merry Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, and late Chanukah to everyone out there on the web!!! Blessings to you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Merry Christmas Eve

This Christmas Eve I am thankful for ...

1) Getting to spend Christmas Eve with family and Christmas day with family and friends
2) I finally finished my MIL's wall hanging (just in time)


3) Honey is home
4) Cuddling
5) Having a wonderfully white Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Watching Youtube to avoid Working

I'm supposed to be stitching around the letters in my MIL's wall hanging. I'm avoiding it. But in the process of avoiding my project I've found some really cool videos on YouTube :) The first video is actually my Belly Dance teacher at last year's New Years Eve Fire and Ice festival in Anchorage (I'm going this year and looked it up just for fun and came across her video). She's doing an improve fire poi dance. Sometime I dream of taking up fire poi, but then I remember two very important things. First I'm a klutz and second I like my hair. I have the feeling those two facts might be mutually exclusive if I add fire poi to the picture.

The second is the video for the FloBots' song "Handlebars." It's one of my favorite music videos but you have to pay attention to get the back and forth. I get all warm and fuzzy when a group uses their music to convey a message instead of just to get a paycheck.

Maybe I should get back to work now ... nah

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Very Domestic Solstice and Chicken Barley Soup

Today was a good day. I'm sitting at my computer, sipping raspberry herbal tea, smelling the wonderful soup I have simmering in the crock pot, and I can't help but think that today was a very good day. Honey got off work early and we were able to spend a couple hours just hanging out an watching silly cartoons. I got half-way done with the wall hanging I need to finish before Christmas for my MIL. I have my favorite soup in the crock pot. Honey cooked a wonderful dinner/mini-feast for us to share and then we performed our Yule ritual. As I said, A very good day.

(What I've accomplished so far on my MIL's wall hanging. I still need to put bias tape around the edges and get some brick red thread as the red parts are the only ones I still need to stich around)

My Favorite Chicken Barley Soup
(a big batch for putting up in the freezer)

- 5qt Crock Pot
- 4 large Chicken Breast Halves (boneless, skinless)
- 4 cans chicken broth
- 2 C Water
- 2/3 C pearl barley
- 1 Large Onion (chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves minced (more if you like garlic)
- 4 large carrots (grated or shredded)
- 4 large celery stalks (chopped)
- 1/2 C chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1/4 tsp ground celery seeds
- 2 large bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- salt to taste (optional)

combine all ingredients (except salt) in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 1 hr. Change to low and cook an additional 7-8 hrs.

Remove chicken breasts. When cool enough to handle cut into bite size pieces (usually they are soft enough for me to shred them with a fork). Return chicken to crock pot and cook an additional 20 min on high. Add salt if desired.

I always eat one bowl of soup to celebrate the completion of the batch and then divide the rest into freezer safe individual portion bowls. Let the soup cool in the fridge and then freeze. If you keep it in the fridge it only lasts 3-4 days but in the freezer it can last for months (but I like it so much it usually doesn't).

(My batch of soup all ready to go in the fridge and then the freezer)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pay-It-Forward Giveaway (Finally)

Now, that I have a working computer I am excited to start my own Pay-It-Forward Giveaway.

For those of you who might not be familiar with this type of crafty give away, let me explain. If you enter this giveaway you will receive something home made and crafty from me. Once I let you know that it is in the mail, you then get to start your own pay it forward giveaway on your blog and make three wonderful crafty things and send them to three readers of your blog who in turn start their own pay it forward giveaways. Basically, we are trying to cover the world in crafty goodness :)

A couple months ago I entered the Pay-It-Forward giveaway at Sara's blog Blessed Simplicity. She made me a wonderful fillet crocheted bookmark.
new camera 193

I wont say what I'm making for the pay-it-forward giveaway but I will say I already bought the fabric and I'm really excited to make them. If you are interested, post a comment letting me know and I'll contact the first three posters to get your addresses and such. I'll be honest and admit that it will probably take me a month or two to finish the crafty surprises once I have your information.

Thankful Thursday !!! I have a working computer again!!!

****Warning - Really Long Post - I have a lot to be thankful for ******

I have so many things to be thankful for this Thursday I'm having a hard time deciding where to start ...

- Honey is home. My honey got home at 1am Wed morning. And I can't stop grinning like a idiot.

- I have my computer back!!! I got so frustrated with the old broken down computer I decided it was time to take a few weeks off from the Internet but now I'm back!

- I have a ton of cookies from my families Cookie Party

- Last week Mom and I had a sewing night and I got a ton of stuff done.

- Dad and I got a ton of stuff done on the MIL apartment over the last couple weekends

- I can finally start my Pay-It-Forward give away since I have a reliable computer

- I made wonderful Chicken Barley soup tonight. (I always have a bunch of servings in the freezer for quick filling meals)

- Christmas Decorations